The Appalachian Regional Commission is proud to announce that 38 fellows graduated from the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a leadership and economic development program sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Members of the Class of 2021, along with their friends and family, attended the ceremony—24 in-person in Washington, DC, and 14 virtually.
“We congratulate the 2021 class of Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows. In addition to network-building, the Fellows have been hard at work over the last nine months building skills needed to help their communities thrive,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “The program offers a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from those who have provided leadership to help bolster the economic vitality of their communities. I can’t wait to see the amazing things these leaders accomplish.”
Locally, Beth Pirtle-Frazer was one of the fellows who participated in the program. Pirtle-Frazer is the owner of Freestyle Consulting which offers planning, consulting and grant services that lead to organizational growth, strength and sustainability. Ms. Pirtle-Frazer is the president of the fledgling Manchester Renaissance Foundation, Inc. , an organization whose mission is to unite the arts, history and nature to revitalize Manchester, Ohio. A graduate of Hanover College with a BA in English, Beth is a member of the Leadership Adams Class of 2015, treasurer and past president of the Manchester Lions Club and she has served on both the Adams County Reentry Committee and the Jail Task Force.
In the nine months leading up to graduation, fellows participated in six virtual sessions, all of which included skill-building seminars with regional experts, peer-to-peer learning, and case study analysis. All aspects of the curriculum were designed to equip fellows with the knowledge and network needed to create positive change in their communities.
“The Appalachian Leadership Institute gives local leaders the tools to make their communities stronger and more resilient,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair, Governor Ralph Northam. “Congratulations to the 38 graduating fellows from the Appalachian Leadership Institute. The skills these fellows have built over the past nine months will spur positive growth throughout the Appalachian Region. We know that local solutions are the best way to address the unique challenges facing Appalachia, and that remains true as we work together to recover from the pandemic and its impact on our communities.”
Fellows will continue serving their communities through civil service, finance, healthcare, recovery, tourism, and a variety of other public and private sectors. Additionally, as graduates of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, they are now part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network. This program will allow them to continue connecting with, and learning from, other leaders across Appalachia. With each graduating class, the network will continue to grow, connect leaders, and facilitate learning and idea exchange across the 13 Appalachian states.
The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows participate in an extensive training curriculum developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact.